Request For Help With Experiment


I'm writing a computing paper that has relevance to wiki and other collaboration techniques, but I now need some data with which to work. Hence this request for help. You don't need to do much, and the fact that you're self-selected won't matter, and won't skew my data. I've already allowed for that. The experiment proceeds in three phases, and you can choose to take part in any or all. No private record will be kept except of things I explicitly tell you.

What I can't do, of course, is tell you too much about what I'm doing. That really would bias the experiment and make the data worthless. So I'm asking you to do this out of interest in helping someone. When the paper is accepted or rejected, then I'll make the results known. I may be able to give you some feedback before then, but I may not.

So what I need first is this. Please choose a nickname for yourself, or use your RealName, either is OK, and then please nominate one or two pages on this wiki. They can be any pages you like, but it's best if they're short, and probably best if they're technical. It's good if they're off-beat or unusual, but that's not essential. That last condition is simply to help get a good spread.

Phase I:

Please put your chosen nick or name, and the page or pages you nominate. Please, no comments at this stage. I'm looking for a set of pages that participants have themselves chosen. You don't have to avoid those already listed, although a good spread will be helpful.

  1. MyNick : WikiHistory, WikiWikiHyperCard
  2. GunnarZarncke: RethinkingCompilerDesign, LanguageIsAnOs
  3. DaveVoorhis: ExtendedSetTheory, RequestForHelpWithExperiment
  4. DonaldNoyes: AutomatingIntelligence, BuildForTodayDesignForTomorrow
  5. Doug Williamson: ScreechinglyObviousCode, AdviceToNewProgrammers
  6. JohnFletcher: OntoClean, ConceptCpp
  7. MartinShobe?: GoedelsIncompletenessConsequences, MultiValuedLogic
  8. DBE: ShortMethods, BeginnersMind
  9. JeffGrigg: PrevalenceIsAcid, FearOfAddingClasses
  10. TopMind: SeparationAndGroupingAreArchaicConcepts, EverythingIsa
  11. LO: FrontPage, FindPage
  12. JasperPaulsen: LineByLineReview, AnalogyBetweenProgrammingAndManufacturing

Phase II:

My thanks to all those who nominated pages. I've now closed the nomination of pages, and we're moving to Phase II ...

Please visit this page: In essence, I'm asking each person to rate a selection of pages according to how interesting they find them. This is not an absolute ranking of the page - it is a personal observation. A page may be brilliant, but uninteresting to you personally. All this is explained on the link above.

I know I'm asking a lot. I've asked you to rank 15 pages, but you don't have to do them all in one sitting, and each one shouldn't take long. Generally 30 seconds is enough to decide whether you're interested in a page, so a couple of those and you're done for now - come back later.

And many thanks again for your time. Phase III should start on or about May 8th (or 9th).

Wow - fantastic response already. Thank you so much. If everyone responds similarly we can move to Phase III much sooner than I expected. Please, keep it coming!

Phase III

Sorry about the delay. I was intending to do the calculations last weekend, the predictions early in the week, and move to the next phase last Thursday or so. Personal circumstances have delayed things, and I apologise. I'm trying to get things done as fast as possible. Things are getting done, but much slower than expected.

The intention is to use the theory I have and the data provided to make some predictions. I'll write those up, take the MD5 of the file and publish that, then get people to provide more data. Then I'll see how accurate the predictions were, and you'll be able to confirm it.

Coming soon ...

We're waiting... ;->

Comments, Speculation, Discussion:

I fear you may not get a large enough sample to get a good spread, as there are not that many contributors currently. It is difficult to name only two pages because there are so many good ones and no pronounced top. -- GunnarZarncke Perhaps ShortListOfValuablePages and ReallyValuablePages

It will be interesting to learn what this was all about. I was strongly tempted to delete one or two of the most UNinteresting pages. ...but that wouldn't have been a nice thing to do in the middle of THE EXPERIMENT. ;-> -- JeffGrigg

I certanly hope after all this that you won't find it disappointing ...


I should add that the pages people score must be selected by me. There is structure here, so new people must score specific pages. Extra pages scored are OK. Sorry I didn't make that clear, but I didn't expect extra people to come and join in. They are most welcome, although I'll need to set a cut-off so I can move to Phase III.

Well it is nice to see that no one seems to be overtly cheating. You may have to close this without a person or two, given that they're not responding. -- JeffGrigg

Indeed - DBE has half his/her pages still blue, and all but one of Mr/s X1's. In the next 24 hours I'll close the scoring and start the analysis. If they haven't replied by then I shall have to ignore them. The analysis will take a day or two, then I'll start on Phase III.

Thanks again and again to everyone for their time - I hope this will prove interest, and ultimately useful.

Any news about phase iii?

The real experiment is to monitor our reactions when no feedback whatsoever comes from the researchers. The survey was merely a ploy to make us invest time in it.

I was merely joking about reaction testing, by the way. I'm hoping you haven't given up on this line of research! Looking forward to the next step of this experiment. -- JeffGrigg

I'm rather pleased you wrote that. I've been spending most of today picking up the pieces after it was hurriedly shelved due to personal problems. I should have something in the next 24 hours or so. Thanks for your (votre) patience. (2008-06-21)

(later) <fx: sigh> I've been sent away for work and this is delayed again. Yet again I have to apologise, and crave your indulgence. (2008-06-24)

I hope your experiment doesn't get stale in the meantime. If it involves people as it seems to do a quick response could be good.

Absolutely. Circumstances have conspired against me, and timing has been pessimal. I'm working as hard as I can to catch up, and hoping it will be quick enough. Please, stay with me.

I've learned a new word. Thank you. I hope your personal situation gets back to normal soon! Thanks! -- JeffGrigg

CategoryInteraction / CategoryWiki / AprilZeroEight

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